Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wrapping Up a Career

Originally written 6/1/13

I’ve been a teacher for the last thirteen years.  It’s what I was born to do.  I’ll admit that in the past five-ish years the profession has become more stressful.  My pension is at risk as I live in a state with the worst funded pension program.  The government is dictating new rules that are not actually best for children.  Politicians are not trained educators, and therefore makes them experts in making decisions about our schools, right?  On a local level, my district is making cuts in order to save money.  I can’t say that I agree with all of those choices either, but I’m at least doing a job I love.  

I never thought I’d leave my job in my current district.  I was offered this job before I graduated from college, and it was exactly what I wanted.  I moved to my current school five years ago, and I felt this was where I wanted to stay for a good long time.  Two years ago our building got a new principal and assistant principal.  I had an instant connection with these two women.  We share many similar theories about teaching and children. Another plus, we have a great time when we are together, no matter how stressful.

I’ve grown a lot as a person and a mother because of this job.  This year, in particular, has been a growing opportunity as I am sending a group of students to the middle school for the first time. I’ve slowly moved up through the grades over the last twelve years, and this is my first year working with 5th graders.  The bonus was that I had many of these students since they were in second grade.  I know these students so well that we are a happy little school family.  I know how to perk them up when they are feeling sad, or give them the tough love they might need. Our move to London has me leave the profession and a building I love.  I am not upset, but I had the same emotions as Oldest Kiddo when she realized she would not be back in the fall.  I am not sure of how or if my visa will allow me to work, but I do plan to volunteer in the kids’ schools as much as they will take me.

I spent the last two days purging my file cabinets of twelve years of teaching.  I found folders of papers from my student teaching days.  They were folders I had not opened since my student teaching days, but I kept them just in case.  Some of my colleagues benefitted from my purging as I passed along several materials to them.  They thought I was being generous as they had no clue a move was in the works. Four drawers jammed of manilla folders condensed down to one drawer.  I sure hope all of that recycled paper will make a significant positive impact for the hole in the ozone.   

One thing I found while purging was my happy folder.  It’s filled with things that I wanted to keep because they always made me smile.  I found notes from colleagues and principals with kudos for a job well done.  There were work samples from students who wrote sentimental or hilarious things; often the hilarity was not intentional.  The smile folder is one of the few things I’ll bring home with me as it’s a great representation of a well-loved career.

*The news shared in this blog posts was originally written many months ago.  We were not ready to share the news with the world at that time, so I added the original date the post was written at the top.

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